Indeed both of the Arabic words ‘Hadith’ and ‘Sunnah’ can be found in the Qur’an, but not for a single time ALLAH had related them with Prophet Muhammad. It is unnecessary to even Imagine that if Sunnah/Hadith could be the second source of Islam. Overwhelmingly ALLAH announced that the Qur’an described details for anything a Muslim needs to know to achieve certainty about Islam but didn’t care to mention about Prophet’s Hadiths or Sunnah.
Whatsoever, the quest of sectarian Muslims to relate verses to Prophet’s Sunnah is a misconception. Among them ‘Obey ALLAH and obey the messenger’ is the most famous. A little unbiased thinking can clarify what that verse wants to predict.
01. MESSENGER = WHO DELIVER THE MESSAGE
Obey the messenger = Obey the message he delivered.
And we know very well that Prophet Muhammad was sent to deliver ALLAH’s message the Qur’an, nothing else.
5/92 And obey Allah and obey the messenger, and be aware. If you turn away then know that it is the duty of Our messenger to deliver (the message) clearly.
64/12 Obey Allah and obey His messenger; but if you turn away, then the duty of Our messenger is only to deliver (the message) clearly.
5/67 O messenger, deliver what was sent down to you from your Lord, and if you do not then you have not delivered His message; and Allah will protect you from the people. And Allah does not guide the rejecting people.
5/99 The messenger is only to deliver. And Allah knows what you reveal and what you conceal.
Therefore , ‘Obey the messenger ‘ = Obey the Qur’an .
02. OBEY THE MESSENGER OR OBEY MUHAMMAD
Why not for a single time All-knowing ALLAH did reveal ‘ Obey ALLAH and obey Muhammad’ but HE did reveal ‘Obey ALLAH and obey the messenger’ more than 25 times? Was it a coincidence? No, not at all. All-knowing ALLAH’s deliberate word choosing in the Qur’an always lead us to the right path.
Muhammad, the human was not extraordinary. Like any average human he did make mistakes and slipped away in many occasions. Muhammad without the message is just a regular human being, he frowned and turned away when the blind poor man came to him, (See 80:1-11), he feared the people when he was supposed to fear only Allah, (See 33:37), and he prohibited what he should not prohibit, (See 66:1)
That is why there has never been a single order in the Quran from Allah to “Obey Muhammad.” If we were to obey Muhammad the human being, (not the messenger), we were to frown at the poor, fear the people instead of Allah and prohibit what Allah did not. We are required to obey the messenger, because it is the message (QURAN) that made the obedience a requirement, not the person, Muhammad that made it a requirement. If Sunnah of Human Muhammad is obligatory for us, we surely have been commanded by Allah by the expression ‘Obey ALLAH and Muhammad’. It is very interesting to observe that even the wives of the Prophet were not instructed to obey the ‘Husband Muhammad’ but were instructed gravely to obey ‘Messenger’ in verse 33:30-31.
Also consider the following verses as the evidence for what we have discussed:
18/110 Say: “I am but a human being like you, being inspired that your Allah is One Allah. So whoever looks forward to meeting his Lord, then let him do good works, and not serve anyone besides his Lord.”
93/7 He found you unguided, and guided you!
42/52 And thus did We reveal to you an inspired book by Our command. You did not know what the Book was, nor (what) the faith (was), but We made it a light, guiding thereby whom We please of Our servants; and most surely you show the way to the right path.
03. OBEY THE QURAN AND OBEY THE SUNNAH ?
Another misunderstanding encircled around the phrase ‘ Obey ALLAH and obey the messenger’ is that they are two different entities:
01) Obey ALLAH which is Qur’an &
02) Obey the messenger which is the Sunnah.
But such is not the case. This phrase expresses a single unit of instructions through an inseparable obedience. Almighty ALLAH clarified:
4/8 He who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you as a watcher over them.
Also please ponder on the following verses whereas ALLAH and the messenger are being expressed as the single entity in action and in obedience in return:
9/1 A revocation is made by Allah and His messenger to those with whom you have made a pledge from among the polytheists.
If Allah releases the believers from the treaty, the Messenger automatically does too.
2/279 And if you will not do this, then be informed of a war from Allah and His messenger; but if you repent, then you will have back your principal money, you will not be wronged nor will you wrong.
Notice, the war is from Allah as well as the Messenger, although it is waged physically by the Messenger.
3/172 Those who have answered Allah and the messenger after they were afflicted with wounds. For those of them who did good and were righteous is a great recompense.
Again, the same concept above.
4/100 Whoever emigrates in the cause of Allah will find in the earth many spoils and a bounty. And whoever leaves his home emigrating to Allah and His messenger, then is overcome by death; his recompense has fallen to Allah, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
59/8 (And there is also a share in this booty) for the poor emigrants, who were expelled from their homes and their property, seeking Bounties from Allah and to please Him. And helping Allah and His Messenger. Such are indeed the truthful (to what they say).
In the above verse, how does a person help Allah? Does Allah need any help? No but the People were asked to help the messenger and they did so. Yet, the expression “Allah and His Messenger” is used. This is because they are a single ‘entity’ to be heeded.
9/3 And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to the people on the day of the greater Pilgrimage: “That Allah and His messenger are innocent from the polytheists.” If you repent, then it is better for you, and if you turn away, then know that you will not escape Allah. And give news to those who have rejected of a painful retribution.
The ‘proclamation’ is made by the Messenger himself to all people, yet it is from “Allah and His Messenger”.
5/33 The recompense of those who fight Allah and His messenger, and seek to make corruption in the land, is that they will be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from alternate sides or that they be banished from the land; that is a disgrace for them in this world and in the Hereafter they will have a great retribution.
In the above verse, if one fights the messenger, he automatically ‘fights’ Allah too. All these verses prove that Allah and His messenger are a single entity to be obeyed.
04. ALLAH DIDN’T ASSIGN ANY AUTHORITY TO PROPHET MUHAMMAD FOR MAKING LAWS
With grave tone Almighty Lord frequently reminded us that the authority of legislation in Islam belongs to HIM ONLY. HE is our Master and all of us, including all the Prophets and messengers are HIS servants . None of us has the upper hand to share/add/supplement laws with the laws of Almighty ALLAH. This is equally applicable to all the Prophets and the messengers. ALLAH clarifies:
12/40 “What you serve besides Him are nothing except names which you have created, both you and your fathers, Allah has not sent down any authority for such. The judgment ‘HUKUMAH’ is for none except Allah. He has ordered that none be served except He. That is the true system, but most of the people do not know.”
18/26 Say: “Allah is fully aware how long they remained, to Him is the unseen of the heavens and the earth, He sees and hears. They do not have besides Him any ally, and He does not share in His judgment ‘HUKUMAH’ with anyone.”
6/57 Say: “I am on a clarity from my Lord and you have denied it. I do not have what you hasten towards; the judgment ‘HUKUMAH’ is with Allah only; He narrates the truth, and He is the best decider.”
That is the very reason Almighty ALLAH didn’t assign any authority to Prophet Muhammad for making laws for the Muslims, rather HE instructed the Prophet to follow the Qur’an and to rule the people according to the legislation as found in the Qur’an :
6/50 Say: “I do not say to you that I possess the treasures of Allah, nor do I know the future, nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I merely follow what is inspired to me.” Say: “Are the blind and the seer the same? Do you not think?”
7/203 And because you do not bring them a sign, they say: “If only you had brought one.” Say: “I only follow what is inspired to me from my Lord. This is an evidence from your Lord, and a guide and mercy to a people who believe.”
10/15 And when Our clear revelations were recited to them, those who do not wish to meet Us said: “Bring a Qur’an other than this, or change it!” Say: “It is not for me to change it of my own accord, I merely follow what is inspired to me. I fear, if I disobeyed my Lord, the retribution of a great Day!”
46/9 Say: “I am no different from the other messengers, nor do I know what will happen to me or to you. I only follow what is inspired to me. I am no more than a clear warner”.
5/48 And We have sent down to you the Book with the truth, authenticating what is between your hands of the Book and guarding it. So judge between them by what Allah has sent down, and do not follow their desires from what has come to you of the truth. For each of you We have made laws, and a structure; and if Allah had willed, He would have made you all one nation, but He tests you with what He has given you; so strive to do good. To Allah you will return all of you, and He will inform you regarding that in which you dispute.
5/49 And judge between them by what Allah has sent down, and do not follow their desires, and beware lest they divert you away from some of what Allah has sent down to you. If they turn away, then know that Allah wants to inflict them with some of their sins; and many of the people are wicked.
Now if Prophet Muhammad himself was obliged to follow the Qur’an ONLY, then what the expression ‘ Obey the Messenger’ should imply to?
Obey the Messenger = Obey the message he delivered = Obey the Laws he followed = Obey the Qur’an